Lumbridge Job Centre

The first person I meet in the starting town, Lumbridge, is a beggar. “I’ve spent all my money, and I can’t be bothered to earn any more,” he says. I’ve been through this before. It’s the old “waste a gold piece because you think the beggar might be a bearded princess” trick. I always fall for it, because I think it makes me a better person. But I realised that I was being given a subtle hint not to kill beggars with kindness. It was RuneScape’s way of telling me that they’d only spend it on absinthe and Marlboro Reds.

So, RuneScape has a strong work ethic, and work ethic here means fetch quests. The very first job I took on involved me fetching 23 cooked chickens. (Can I just type that in words? Twenty-three.) Finding a few chickens opposite Millie Miller’s Mill, I killed them until my backpack was full of raw meat.

I say “killed”. Early combat is more like watching the world’s first computer slowly bleed binary. Each battle took nearly a minute to resolve. Chickens only have 3HP, but both myself and my equally determined and noble combatant seemed completely incapable of hitting each other. The long stream of zeroes – punctuated by the occasional one – was bizarrely gripping. By the time I’d reached level 15, and upgraded my weapons to match, beating a Level 5 goblin wasn’t much more fun.
Apart from issuing the attack command, you have three ways to influence the fight. The first is a setting: your attack style. I could also cast a spell, a process which uses up runes and gives you Magic XP. I could also have activated a prayer buff. I refused to pray, feeling that if I had to pray to survive a flurry of chicken pecks, I’d be better off playing Insaniquarium Deluxe for the rest of my life.
As I levelled up, the zeroes turned to more regularly to one, and although it’d be some time before I saw my first two, my backpack slowly filled with sixteen carcasses. Time to cook some, and hand them in. I chopped down a tree, lit the logs, and destroyed eight of my corpses thanks to my low Cooking level. The only thing that stopped me weeping from the thud of futility was the fact that I’d levelled up in four of my boxes. So that was pretty f***ing awesome, all things considered. 

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